APEX 2018 shows airlines’ growing appetite for fast, free in-flight internet

JetBlue wins “Best Wi-Fi” award for its Viasat-powered Fly-Fi system; highlights importance of in-flight connectivity

Colin Sage with Viasat celebrates with JetBlue's Mariya Stoyanova after the airline won the 'Best Wi-Fi' Passenger Choice Award again at this year's APEX event. At right is the Viasat booth.

In late September 2018, thousands of aviation industry professionals gathered in Boston for the annual Airline Passenger Experience (APEX) convention. With JetBlue winning the “Best Wi-Fi” award for the second year running; new announcements about Aeromexico and La Compagnie adding Viasat’s in-flight internet service to their fleets; and a growing belief that in-flight Wi-Fi is becoming more necessity than luxury, this year’s APEX event proved to be significant for Viasat.

JetBlue honored with “Best Wi-Fi” award

Since JetBlue was the first airline to go all-in on the Viasat service, it was especially gratifying to see the airline win the APEX “Best Wi-Fi” Passenger Choice Award yet again. With JetBlue’s aircraft equipped with Viasat’s cutting-edge satellite connectivity, the award further confirmed our place at the forefront of in-flight Wi-Fi.

At one of the APEX educational sessions focused on in-flight entertainment & connectivity (IFEC) metrics, JetBlue’s Head of Product Development, Mariya Stoyanova, talked about the Viasat advantage:

“My standard is [the onboard internet] needs to be as good as it is on the ground,” Stoyanova said. “Our connectivity is a huge brand loyalty driver and a retention driver. The product is so good it is ‘love at first sight,’ and (customers) come back again and again … We have our fast, full and free product with the expectation that, whatever you get on the ground, you should be getting in the air and that’s what we believe — and that’s why we partner with Viasat.”

Although Viasat is a relative newcomer to the industry, launching our service in 2012, we’ve gained an impressive following. Along with JetBlue, our partners include American Airlines, United, Qantas, El Al Israel Airlines, SAS and Finnair, among others.

Aeromexico deploys Viasat service

Viasat confirmed Aeromexico is set to deploy the Viasat in-flight internet system on 18 new Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. Those first 18 could eventually grow to 60 aircraft, and the first line-fit installations of the equipment on the aircraft have already begun.

“As Mexico’s global airline, we take great pride in ensuring our passengers have access to the latest innovations and airline comforts,” said Andres Castañeda, Aeromexico chief marketing officer. “By bringing Viasat in-flight internet on board, we will deliver a top class in-flight Wi-Fi experience for our passengers.”

Business-class airline, La Compagnie, adds Viasat

At APEX, we were also pleased to make the announcement about supplying service on La Compagnie aircraft. While this is a smaller fleet, La Compagnie has a very interesting business model: all of the seats on their brand-new A321neo Airbus aircraft are business class.

“We are excited to offer unlimited high-speed Wi-Fi to all the passengers onboard our new aircraft,” said Jean Charles Périno, executive vice president of sales and marketing for La Compagnie. “Viasat’s in-flight connectivity has unmatched speed, quality and affordability so everyone onboard can experience the internet just like they do in their home or office.”

La Compagnie jet
La Compagnie jets will soon have Viasat connectivity.

For business customers, access to that on-the-ground quality internet is key for an airline like La Compagnie, where business flyers expect the best but at a reasonable price.

“This is a perfect match with Viasat’s solution,” Périno said. “We will be offering this unlimited Wi-Fi access at a fraction of the cost of competitive solutions, following our low-fare approach. We are proud, as a small airline, to have the best in the market to offer to our passengers.”

Viasat vows to bring even more capacity to the aviation market

Viasat continued to highlight its global roadmap — with three new ViaSat-3 satellites set to start launching in 2020 — and how much capacity would be dedicated to connect aircraft just about anywhere in the world.

“Our current service has been recognized by multiple third parties as the best in-flight internet service on the global market, offering high-performance and high-dependability,” said Don Buchman, vice president and general manager, Commercial Aviation, Viasat. “With ViaSat-2 and subsequently ViaSat-3, we will bring even greater speeds and reliability with built-in scale and flexibility to serve millions of passengers daily as they fly across multiple continents.”


Learn more:

Listen to Viasat podcasts about in-flight entertainment & connectivity

Read our white paper on choosing the right connectivity partner for commercial aviation

 

 

 

Sean Walsh
About Sean Walsh 3 Articles
Sean Walsh is marketing manager for Commercial Aviation at Viasat. Based out of Dublin, Ireland, he helps to spread Viasat’s message to connect the world and how passengers can experience everything they love to do on the ground via internet while they fly.